The National Livestock Marketing Council Chair, Dubat Amey now want the national government to immediately start mass testing of Coronavirus among Garissa county residents.
Amey who was reacting to yesterday’s revelation that two people from Dagahaley and Ifo in the vast Dadaab refugee camps had tested positive to the virus said that government should move with speed to contain the highly infectious disease from further spreading.
Addressing the press in Garissa town on Tuesday, Amey said he has all along been fearing that the disease could be spreading among communities in the county given the upsurge of such cases in Wajir county that border Garissa to the North and Somalia to the East.
“It is most likely that the two victims could have contracted the disease from either contacts in Wajir or Somalia or contacts from the two areas. This is a cause of alarm for all of us who understand the effects of the highly infectious disease,” Amey said.
A number of residents have in the recent past called on the government to test area residents after it emerged that some people were escaping from Eastleigh that has recorded some of the highest cases in the country.
Amey said that mass testing “was the only way to be sure that the disease is not with us until yesterday when we reported the first case.”
I urge our leaders led by Governor Ali Korane and majority leader in the national assembly to come on the ground and carry out sensitization campaign and thereafter lead the residents in mass testing.
“As much as most of us are willing to be tested, the stigma associated with the highly infectious disease could be a setback in carrying out mass testing. It is only our leaders who can lead us in demystifying the disease and stop its spread,” he said.
He said the government should heighten contact tracing of the two victims before they spread the virus even further.
On livestock trade, Amey said that while majority of residents who depend on pastoralism as their main source of livelihood were suffering following closure of livestock markets along the border, the directive was good for the people from the region.
“We are happy that the government has not closed down the Garissa livestock market. This is one of the largest such market in East and Central Africa. I am however appealing to traders to adhere to guidelines issued by the ministry of health failure lest they risk the market being closed,” he said.
Dubat said at least 3,000 livestock are traded on a good market day raking in over Sh.30 million.
“This is one business we are ready to jealously protect at all cost. Every Wednesday I and several likeminded elders visit the market to ensure that the Ministry of Health guidelines are adhered to,” he noted.
Amey said that hundreds of people directly or indirectly depend on the market as the main source of livelihood, adding that ‘closing the market could have a devastating effect on the economy of Garissa at large’.
Early this month, the Garissa Governor, Ali Korane called on residents of Dadaab to limit movement in and out of the refugee camps hosting over 300,000 immigrants from Somalia.
By Jacob Songok